Liz Cambage is one of the most dominant centers to ever play in the WNBA. Las Vegas Aces fans most likely remember her from her 43 point performance over the Aces to take the final spot in the 2018 WNBA playoffs prior to her being traded here. Going into the 2019 offseason, the Aces were prioritizing finding a replacement over Carolyn Swords to help find a defensive center. Many people predicted, including myself, thought that meant to the Aces would be drafting Mississippi State powerhouse Teaira McCowan. The reality is that they needed someone who could actually guard players like Liz Cambage. The Aces ultimately dealt with this problem by trading for Liz themselves. They decided the only way to stop her was to have her on the roster. The Aces gave up rotational guard Moriah Jefferson, prospect Isabelle Harrison, and their 2020 first and second round pick. The reality of the trade was that the Aces gave up virtually nothing to acquire her. Moriah Jefferson was a small contributor despite being selected 2nd overall in 2016 by the then San Antonio Stars and Isabelle never touched the court. In addition, there is no player in the 2020 draft who is as good as Liz Cambage. When the trade became official, the Aces bolstered the most talented roster in the WNBA. A starting lineup of Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Kayla McBride, A’ja Wilson, and Liz Cambage was frightening. Considering that the Aces also had sixth man of the year Dearica Hamby the Aces were appropriately labeled the favorites to win the title going into the season. In September 2019 hosts Sharp and Shapiro talk about her nude photo shoot she did for an ESPN Body Issue.

Shapiro weighed in,

“Let’s just call this for what it is at least in my mind. When you take your clothes off, and you are attractive, it is going to be sexualized. Make no mistake about it.”

I can’t help but agree in this case. Ms. Cambage has to know that the purpose of this photo shoot will primarily be seen and advertised as sexual. She commented on the shoot saying that it was to show off her power. In that sense I can’t disagree either. The photo undoubtably emits a powerful energy. Despite doing the photoshoot in front of numerous people, she seems confident in the way she looks and knows exactly what she is doing. In reality, I think she must have understood all aspects of this going in. I believe she did this ready to express herself the way she intended to. She clearly has worked diligently to have that kind of body and she wanted to show it off.

Sharp gave his thoughts on the photoshoot overall,

“I just think it’s good for the WNBA. It’s good for the WNBA for someone like her to get the attention considering how unique she is”.

He brings up an interesting point in this argument. The WNBA has been very reluctant to showcase their women’s beauty. This is understandable considering that women aren’t objects. If you parade your athletes around like sexual beings, then you are leading your brand down a very dark path. Now on the other side of things, when athletes like Liz Cambage and Sue Bird do nude photoshoots it brings a lot of attention to the league. The ultimate question becomes, should the WNBA display their women for their beauty to garner attention from men who would only watch the games because he finds some players attractive? Morally speaking, it’s extremely offensive to women to do that. Personally, I do think there is some sort of balance for the WNBA in terms of promoting your top player’s looks. The only problem is that it’s a very thin line to walk. That kind of attention could spark a lot of outrange within the community. Things become a lot more difficult when Liz Cambage comes out after the photo shoot saying that her nude body should not be seen as a sexual object.

The conversation changed when a caller asked if there are any transgendered player in the WNBA and whether or not hosts Sharp and Shapiro believed they would eventually be included. While Shapiro believes it cannot happen Sharp said, “I’ll tell you why I think it is going to happen. It’s going to increase rating. It’s going to add attention. It’s going to make money for the league. The league is losing money hand over fist right now.”

I believe the WNBA should include transgendered players in the league. The WNBA should step forward and be the most progressive powerhouse in the world of sports. As a proud and open supporter of the LGBT community, the WNBA would look foolish not to. I do not believe someone would exploit this system just to play for the WNBA because the players don’t make nearly as much money as male players in Europe do. Having transgendered players would be a huge deal and they could market it for years. The media attention surrounding that player would create the highest ratings the league has ever seen.

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Spencer Ostrovsky

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